Alexandre Desplat Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (9)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (3)

Born in Paris, Île-de-France, France
Birth NameAlexandre Michel Gerard Desplat
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Composer and conductor Alexandre Desplat, Oscar winner and seven-time Academy Award nominated, for his prolific filmography and his collaborations with Stephen Frears, Terrence Malick, Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Jacques Audiard, Wes Anderson, Roman Polanski, George Clooney or Matteo Garrone is one of the most worthy heirs of the French masters of film music.

Brought up in a cultural and musical mix thanks to his Greek mother and his French father who studied and got married in California, he grew up listening to French symphonists, Ravel or Debussy , world music and jazz.

He studied piano and trumpet before choosing the flute as the main instrument. As a free auditor in Claude Ballif's analysis class at the CNSM, he enriches his classical musical education by studying Brazilian and African music. He will record later with Carlinhos Brown or Ray Lema.

Passionate about film music, it's as much his musical sensitivity as his intimate approach to cinematographic language that will allow his privileged relationship with filmmakers. Inspired by the scores of Maurice Jarre, Bernard Herrmann, Nino Rota or Georges Delerue, it is after hearing the score of John Williams for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) that he decides to compose exclusively for the big screen.

During the recording of his first feature film he meets violinist Dominique Lemonnier. This is the beginning of an exceptional artistic exchange as she becomes her favorite soloist, artistic director and wife. With his strong sense of interpretation, his creative spirit and his singular violin playing, Solré inspired Alexandre's compositions, influencing his music in depth, initiating a new way of writing for the strings in the cinema.

Collaborator of Jacques Audiard since his first film, he creates for his works strong and singular compositions and he won in 2005 for The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005) the Silver Bear of the Berlinale, and his first Caesar. He works in France with Philippe de Broca and Francis Girod but Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) of Peter Webber, his 50th score for the film, he gets a first Golden Globe nomination and BAFTA and began his rise in Hollywood. Leading American career and European collaborations and remaining faithful to his directors, he composes among others Syriana (2005)'s scores of Stephen Gaghan, Birth (2004) of Jonathan Glazer, Coco Before Chanel (2009) by Anne Fontaine, Army of Crime (2009) by Robert Guédiguian, The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch (2008) by Jérôme Salle, L'ennemi intime (2007) or Hostage (2005) by Florent-Emilio Siri.

Prizes and collaborations with the greatest directors follow one another. In 2007, he received his first Oscar nomination for Stephen Frears's The Queen (2006) and won his first European Film Award. The same year, he won the Golden Globe, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, and the World Soundtrack Award for John Curran's score The Painted Veil (2006), performed by pianist Lang Lang. He composed in 2008 for Lust, Caution (2007) by Ang Lee and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) by David Fincher which will earn him a second Oscar nomination and a fourth Golden Globes and BAFTA nomination.

With his score for The Ghost Writer (2010) by Roman Polanski, he won in 2010 a second César and a second European Film Award. The same year he wrote the music of The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) by Chris Weitz, whose album was a platinum record, and Tom Hooper's The King's Speech (2010) for which he won the BAFTA, the Grammy Award, and was nominated for the fourth time at the Oscars and for the fifth time at the Golden Globes.

In 2010-2011 he wrote the music of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) which became the third greatest success of all time. He composed in 2011 nine partitions, The Tree of Life (2011) of Terrence Malick, Carnage (2011) by Roman Polanski, Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) by George Clooney , which earned him another Oscar nomination, The Well-Digger's Daughter (2011) by Daniel Auteuil and The Ides of March (2011) by George Clooney.

In 2012 he worked with Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Matteo Garrone for Reality (2012), Gilles Bourdos for Renoir (2012), Jérôme Salle for Zulu (2013), George Clooney for Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and Jacques Audiard for Rust and Bone (2012) for which he won a third Cesar. For his score of Argo (2012) of Ben Affleck, Oscar for Best Picture, it is named for the sixth time BAFTA, and for the fifth time at the Golden Globes and the Oscars.

He signed in 2013 the partition The Monuments Men (2014) from George Clooney, Venus in Fur (2013) of Roman Polanski, and was appointed to the BAFTAs and the Oscars for Philomena (2013) of Stephen Frears.

In 2014 he composed the music Godzilla (2014) of Gareth Edwards, and receives exceptional fact, two Oscar nominations for The Imitation Game (2014) of Morten Tyldum and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) by George Clooney, for which he won a BAFTA, Grammy and Oscar.

Member of the jury of the Cannes Film Festival in 2012, he became in 2014 the first composer President of the jury of the Venice Film Festival. Crowning long years of collaboration, he directed the London Symphony Orchestra in December 2014 for a concert of his works at the Barbican Theater in London.

In 2018, Alexandre Desplat received a second Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for The Shape of Water (2017) of Guillermo del Toro.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jwelch5742

Spouse (1)

Dominique Lemonnier (? - present) ( 2 children)

Trivia (9)

Started playing piano at the age of 5.
His Greek mother and French father met in the US while attending university. After the marriage, they moved to France where Desplat was born.
One of 115 peopled invited to join AMPAS in 2007.
Was nominated for Film Composer of the Year by the International Film Music Critics Association in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. He only won the award in 2007.
In his early teens, he started collecting soundtrack albums. He became acquainted with the music of several composers including Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, Maurice Jarre, and Georges Delerue.
He is known for being able to compose a full film score in a short time.
First met his wife, Dominique LeMonnier, while working on his first film score in 1986.
Second winner of the Life Achievement Kilar Award, of FMF Krakow Film Music Festival, named after late composer Wojciech Kilar, in 2016.

Personal Quotes (6)

Over the past 15 years, I've been able to build a voice, something that looks like me. I don't know if it's a "new" voice as some say, it's not within my ability to say - but I write what I like! So it's "me". I come from France, and I've worked here, and in England, and Spain, and I'm not going to dump the past 15 years of my life when I come to Hollywood. I will still improve by doing a European movie once in a while, because there's a different approach to film scoring. Even a film with a small budget - I don't care, as long as I can be creative. And being creative is the way to move forward.
Funnily enough, almost at the same time that the Hollywood career started to ascend, I received two major awards for Best Score in Europe: the Silver Bear in Berlin, and the Cesar in France. And suddenly it made sense that the stars were aligned at the same time here and there. I still have not gotten an award here, so I still have a long way to go! I think Maurice Jarre had three, and Michel Legrand had two or three. Gabriel Yared had one. So, I have to work a little bit.
It's not unusual to have only three weeks to score a picture. And that's three weeks from signing on to finishing the last recording session. That's how I did The Queen and, more recently, it's how I did The Imitation Game.
It was the songs from 101 Dalmatians and The Jungle Book. But also I remember there was a beautiful melody which Alex North wrote for the Kubrick film Spartacus. When I was a kid I would always hum it. Later I heard Bill Evans do it as a jazz piano piece and I recognised it: it had stuck with me. [on his early love of music from films]
[on his best experience] Working with Roman Polanski. He loves music so much, and he gives total freedom to his composer. This is pretty amazing. His desire is for the composer to be completely free and bring new ideas. He's greedy about it; he's so excited when you play him a piece of music that surprises him. He has no fear. I've done his last three films [Ghost Writer, Venus in Fur and Carnage], and we're working on a new one soon. He doesn't use any temp music ever. He doesn't need a crutch. (...) It's become the poison of film music, and I wish producers would prevent this from happening. It completely kills the world of creation, of imagination, that the composer can bring to a film. If the composer is there to bring something new, the temp track can only kill it, because after two or three times of listening to a sequence with the same music, you're hooked. It's the way the brain works. So can you imagine after 100 times? The challenge is to seek something else. That's why I love Wes Anderson, that's why I love David Fincher, that's why I love Polanski, because they want to look for something else. [2016]
[on favorite films] I've always been a film lover - that's why I've always wanted to write music for films. But if I had to choose three films: Barry Lyndon [1975], Chinatown [1974] and The Godfather [1972]. And in animation it would be The Jungle Book [1967], 101 Dalmatians [1976] and all the Tex Avery films. [2016]

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